Curriculum Vieta in Story Form
I’ll be honest. I do not like creating a Curriculum Vieta. Perhaps it is because when I was teaching, I had to update one every year. And of course, every position, no matter the position, required one. I’ve always wondered who actually reads these boring, dry lists of dates and places?
This being a Celtic organization and given the Celts love of a good story, I thought, why not try my hand at leaving my Curriculum Vieta in a story that hopefully will be less dull than a mere list of dates and places.
I want to begin by starting at the end:
My passion for Celtic Christianity, my passion to help people speculatively explore what it means to be a person of faith flows from my CV, a spiraling journey to be sure.
Reading between the lines, my CV is a story of hope and disappointment, a story of anger at God and ever-flowing Grace of God. My CV is the linear, but often spiraling, sometimes seemingly out of control, educational and occupation story of how I arrived at teaching, and writing about, the Celtic way.
When I look at my CV, I am reminded that in spite of the twists and turns in my career and life, I am a person who seeks to live life out loud and sacramentally.
These days I am “officially retired,” whatever that means. I still teach. I still speak. I still write. I still practice my photography and occasionally exhibit and sell a few works. My newest endeavor, besides teaching for CELTIC WAY is the publication of The Oran Mór Journal, a journal of Celtic spirituality, thought, history, culture & folklore, sort of an online revival of the old print journal, Brigit’s Feast (1996-2000).
That’s today. In the past (we’ll skip over some of the mundane and stick with the highlights) …
My ministry in good Celtic fashion has followed a path of twists and turns. It has been a bit like Alice in Wonderland when the sidewalk she is walking on jumps up and takes a new direction. The path, as far as this CV is concerned began at John Brown University (’65, BA) in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The course work began with Construction Engineering, gradually shifting to Biblical Studies/Greek as the major, and Literature/Language as the minor, along with Construction Engineering. Academically, I was a Broadhurst Scholar.
From there it was off to Gordon Divinity School (’68, M.Div.) in Massachusetts. Here, I was named a Broadhurst Scholar and assisted with undergraduate (Gordon College) algebra and Greek classes. Although I was “under care” of my Presbytery, my student pastoring exposed me to Christian Universalism (in a Congregational Church), Armenian homiletics and theology (a Nazarene Church), and Episcopalian Polity (An Episcopal Church in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood). Seminary also began my several year career with the YMCA. While in school, I served as the Beverly YMCA Assistant Youth Director.
Oddly, as thankful as I am for the rigorous theological training I receive, seminary, rather than strengthening my Reformed Theology, set me on a long path of questioning Reformed and traditional Western Christianity.
After seminary, at my wife’s bidding I ended up pastoring in a Christian & Missionary Alliance Church (her denomination) in Huntington, WV (’68 – ’71). Concurrently, I served as the Downtown YMCA Branch Director and Y Chaplain. The Y served business men during the morning and early afternoon. Youth in the afternoon and evening. It was through the Y that I began to work with street youth. Also, the Y served as neutral grounds during the Viet Nam protests and the student unrest of the late 60s.
In 1971 the path took us to Akron, OH and another C&MA Church. By 1973, I knew that I could no longer serve as a C&MA pastor. For a couple years thereafter, I was the Interim Pastor of the Peninsula (OH) United Methodist Church. Being in what was to become the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this church had a strong connection to the natural environment—a bit of Celtic vibe.
Finally, my path led back to the Presbyterian Church, and I was finally ordained in 1976. Why the wait? I think it was because I always new down deep that I would return to the Presbyterian Church. Even today, although I am deeply embedded in Celtic Christianity, I still have a soft spot for the Presbyterian Church.
While a Presbyterian Minister I served as an Associate Minister (‘76 – ‘79), Interim Minister (once in a Presbyterian Church with Hungarian roots*) and Director of the Akron YFC/Youth Guidance program. I must admit that I had a very hard time with YFC’s emphasis on getting kids “saved.” I was much more comfortable with the Youth Guidance side, which worked with troubled kids. After YFC, my ministry led me into ministry with (mostly homeless) street youth
Then the path bumped up—quite a bump it turned out to be. Divorce happened. And to be honest, it made me angry. Angry at God. Angry at the church. Simply put, I rebelled. During this I became a Faculty Administrator at the University of Akron, that of Director of External Affairs - Alumni, Department of University Advancement (’65 – ’68).
In 1969, God’s Grace, Divine Wisdom, if you will, always flowing set the path toward Lcs Angeles and time with my parents, my dad recovering from serious heart surgery, and my eldest son and his family, my first grandson. While there I became Singles Pastor for a Christian Reformed Church in Chino (’90 – ’93). I also remarried (and these 30 years or so later, still happily married).
Naturally getting married changed the direction of the path. How could it not change when two paths merge into one? Lorraine wanted to move to be near her sister in Seattle. I wanted to move, and to us Portland looked like a good choice. We moved. A leap of faith to be sure, as neither one of us had any idea of what we would end up doing in Portland. Here, I got involved in neighborhood arbitration. Here too, Brigit’s Feast was born and I began teaching Celtic Studies at Marylhurst University (1996 – 2005). It was here also, that a group of us came together in 1997 to explore Celtic Christianity and build community. [Lorraine became department manager at a high-end retail store.]
Like Alice’s proverbial sidewalk, the path once again changed directions—the coming birth of a grandchild took us to Cleveland in 1999. Although I continued to commute to Portland to teach, I returned to neighborhood activism and formed URBAN PARADOXES, a consortium that worked in the field of neighborhood behaviors and future-visioning (2000 – 2010). While in Cleveland I was the Feature Writer for Urban Dialect (’07 – ’10), with one article nominated for an Indy Press award, and “Guest Editorialist” on occasion for Crain’s Business—Cleveland. I also wrote pieces for The Encyclopedia of Gardening and The Encyclopedia of Monasticism, some of which dealt with Celtic themes. One interesting assignment was to develop an outline, Ecta Nerai,” from Irish myth for a potential series of movies. Interestingly enough, all these years later this outline is still floating around.
[And being I mentioned Lorraine, you might be wondering about her. Lorraine became the Director of Volunteers and Hospitality for the Cleveland Convention & Visitors Bureau.
While in Cleveland Lorraine and I began to wonder how we might best minister to those struggling with their faith and feeling alienated from the organized church. We thought a coffee shop, maybe in Baltimore, my hometown, might be the way. However, if one is following a path that twists, turns and jumps up, one cannot always expect the path to remain where it “belongs.”
On our last exploratory trip to Baltimore, we found the ideal property for what we wanted to do. On the way home, the Realtor called, Baltimore decided that it needed to take a look at zoning and everything was on hold. Shortly after returning home our landlord asked what it would take to get us to move. He and his wife had sold their house and needed a place to live. My youngest and his wife to be had been saying move to Austin. So, in 2010 we did.
While in Austin I continued to write and to dig deeper into things Celtic (Lorraine worked in Real Estate). In 2021 it became obvious that path was restless once again. Needing to put down roots where life was reasonably affordable, we returned to Ohio, where we had family. This time to Sheffield Lake and the shores of Lake Erie.
I continue to write, teach and minister, while Lorraine returns to her artistic creativity and seeks opportunities to work with disadvantage youth.
And while not part of a traditional CV, we have seven children, fourteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren.